Mobile Phones Guide

BlackBerry Bold 9900 review

BlackBerry Bold 9900 - Gallant Warrior

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Launch SRP S$927

Overall rating 8.5/10
Design:
9
Features:
8.5
User-Friendliness:
8
Performance:
9
Value:
8
THE GOOD
Gorgeous high resolution touchscreen
Long battery life
Excellent QWERTY keyboard
THE BAD
Below par imaging quality
BlackBerry 7 OS still falls behind the competition
Screen can be bigger


Features

BlackBerry 7 OS 

Having discussed about the physical changes that we have seen on the BlackBerry Bold 9900, let's move on to the changes under the hood. First and foremost, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is one of the three handsets (the other two are the BlackBerry Torch 9810 and Torch 9860) that ships with the latest BlackBerry 7 OS. RIM claims that the new OS is designed to power the new performance-driven BlackBerry platform. It also offers easier and faster user experience with improved browsing, voice activated searches, additional personal and productivity apps out of the box. 

 Putting aesthetic improvements aside, the BlackBerry 7 OS also has a few nice additions that we appreciate.

For enterprise users, the BlackBerry 7 OS offers a new feature, known as the BlackBerry Balance. It isolates your personal content from corporate content on the BlackBerry Bold 9900, which gives you the flexibility to use the same handset for both work and personal purposes. The BlackBerry Balance works with BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 5.0.3 that allows you to set IT policy controls such as blocking work related content from being copied or forwarded to personal contacts. This made management of corporate data a breeze for companies out there. 

In a move to entrench the Bold 9900 for what is going to be the next big thing in mobile communications, RIM has the handset built-in with support for Near Field Communications (NFC). NFC is a new technology that facilitates a whole range of services and experiences. For example, the Bold 9900 can be paired with a Bluetooth headset by just tapping the handset on the NFC tag on the accessory. You no longer need to go through manual pairing by keying in a password. For more information on NFC, you can read it up here.

Having mentioned the wonders of the BlackBerry 7 OS, we have to caution you on a serious drawback - it is not compatible with older BlackBerry devices. We feel that this is a bad move by RIM as it alienates existing BlackBerry users. While RIM clarified that the new OS needs a more powerful processor which current BlackBerry phones lack, it does not go well with the fact that BlackBerry 6 OS was just launched barely 10 months ago. We sympathize with owners of Bold 9780 and Torch 9800 who may feel left out of the opportunity to upgrade. In addition to this snub by RIM, we also felt that despite the improvements in the usability and interface of the BlackBerry 7 OS, RIM is still lag behind its competitors such as Google Android OS which offers more customization options. The BlackBerry App World also falls behind the competition in terms of app numbers. As apps are important in keeping users to a particular platform, we are afraid the lack in quantity and quality of apps may put the Bold 9900 at a disadvantage when compared to its competitors, the Apple iPhones and Google Android devices. 

 

Multimedia features 

Powering the 2.8-inch screen is a powerful feature known as Liquid Graphics, which is supported by BlackBerry 7 OS. Essentially, Liquid Graphics is their marketing lingo that refers to the optimized fluid interface thanks to the new OS, faster processor and better programming. RIM claims that the Liquid Graphics touch screen delivers fast and smooth performance for touch-based navigation, web browsing, pictures, video and graphics intensive games. It also offers up to 60 fps performance with instant user interface action and response, hence providing a visually rich and immersive experience. 

The benefits of Liquid Graphics do not stop here. It extends to the general performance of the browser found in the Bold 9900. According to RIM, Liquid Graphics assists in delivering faster rendering and seamless panning and zooming when surfing the Internet. In addition, the browser includes the just in time (JIT) JavaScript compiler, which shortens the loading time of web pages, and support for additional HTML5 elements such as HTML5 video. What this means is that if you are viewing a HTML5 coded website from the Bold 9900, you do not need to download any third party plugins to view multimedia content, unlike many existing smartphones which require a Flash plugin to watch YouTube videos. 

Another key highlight of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is its HD video recording capability.  The Bold 9900 is able to record HD videos of 1280 x 720 pixels resolution, unlike the Bold 9780 which only takes videos in 640 x 480 pixels resolution, which is considered dated by today's standards.